Reviewed by JustJen
Title: King of Dublin
Author: Lisa Henry, Heidi Belleau
Genre: M/M Dystopian
Length: 382 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Available at: Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble & All Romance eBooks
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes
Blurb: Twenty years after a deadly pandemic ravaged the world, Darragh Fergus Anluan and the people of his village have carved out a hard but simple life in the Irish countryside. But with winter comes sickness, and Darragh must travel to Dublin in search of medicine. What he finds there is a ruined city ruled by a madman, where scavenging is punishable by death . . . or conscription.
Ciaran Daly came to Ireland with aid and optimism, but instead was enslaved by the so-called King of Dublin. After months of abuse from the king and his men, he has no reason to believe this newcomer will be any different. Except Ciaran finds himself increasingly drawn to Darragh, whose brutish looks mask how sweet and gentle he really is.
The tenderness Darragh feels for the king’s treasured pet is treason, but it’s hardly the only betrayal brewing in this rotten kingdom. Rebellions and rival gangs threaten the king’s power, but not nearly as much as Darragh and Ciaran—whose only hope for freedom is the fall of the king.
* This title contains the following sensitive themes: dubious consent, explicit violence and non-consent.*
I was pretty excited about this one when it came across my radar. Although I’m not generally a fan of futuristic stories, this one just drew me in. It takes place twenty years in the future where the world has all but been destroyed. People are doing what they can to survive, mainly in different groups or factions, while the main city of Dublin is run by the very brutal King Boru who rules by force and brutality.
King Boru’s treasured pet (treasured in his eyes) is Ciaran, aka Boy, his slave and sex toy. He is very cruel to Ciaran, raping and offering him as rewards to his men leaving Ciaran a shell of a man; at least on the surface. Ciaran still has hopes and dreams of freedom and helping his people, but the persistent abuse is taking its toll.
Darragh is a big, sweet, naïve countryman who has left his village in order to find medicine for his dying family. He is found by Boru’s men and made a part of his Kingdom when the King promises Darragh the medicine he seeks. Darragh sees something in Ciaran, and although he wants to trust and believe in him, Ciaran’s behavior with the King leaves him questioning everything about Ciaran.
This story is told in two parts. Part 1 is the foundation and set up of the relationship between Darragh and Ciaran while under Boru’s thumb, while Part 2 focuses on the romance as the two traverse the countryside trying to get back home. A lot happens along the way, including the introduction of one of my favorite characters, a young man named Rabbit. I loved the voice of Rabbit and was really happy to see how things went where he was concerned.
There were times, mostly in the middle, where this felt a little drawn out, and I found things were a bit more exciting when Boru was in the picture, even though I wanted him to suffer and die through the entire story. Yes, there is rape and some violence, but it is true to the tone of the setting, if that makes sense. I loved watching the characters evolve as time went on, especially the transitions from Boy to Ciaran. Darragh also does quite a bit of growing, so I really just enjoyed them together. This is a dark story, but one full of hope. This was a pretty sold, well-developed story that shows these two authors are clearly on the right path working together, and I look forward to seeing something more from them in the future.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*